Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Outfit for a Wednesday: Monochromatic Accenting

Although the sun has been peeping through the dreary clouds the past couple of days, calmly and defiantly reminding winter Persephone he will not be forgotten, I still feel the biting cold and have been drifting towards black and muted neutrals for my daily wardrobe. Today, I decided to throw in some accents with one of my typical monochromatic looks, in remembrance of the long winter we have endured, and hopeful of a thriving, bright spring to come.

These black dress pants are one of my favorite business pieces; they came matched with a patterned jacket in a suit, but they have such an ideal fit, I frequently wear them on their own. I have long legs and thankfully, the pants' legs are even longer; I am even forced to pair them with heels or wedges, about two or three inches, and the hem gracefully covers my shoes and ankles without kissing the floor. I find that many young women confuse dress slacks with their more casual denim; although jeggings are a formiddable trend, a dress slack for the office or for more formal wear should not be painted on through the thighs and rear area. Skin tight slacks look unprofessional, and cheap. These pants are a wide, loose fitting leg, without being overly voluminous and adding unflattering bulk; my legs are lean and streamlined in this cut, but they still have a nice smooth flow when I walk and move about. Because they came as a suit with a paired jacket, the pants have no front or back packets, which give them a clean, pressed look naturally. In addition, there is a front crease, which completes the pant and again offers a very clean, well tailored look.

I added a black cowl neck shirt and a cream daping cardigan on top; the black shirt with the black pant creates a single palette and the illusion of a single piece, while the cream cardigan offers some added warmth, both figuratively and literally.

Although, in many cases, I prefer a thinner belt when wearing the belted cardigan look, here, the slightly wider leather belt works to create some structure as well as break up the black underneath. Without buttons or a defined waist, the open shawl cardigan can look flimsy and shapeless; worn with this sturdy belt, I can accentuate my hourglass and offer a shape to the cardigan. Since I have black on both my bottom and my top, the belt does not sever my body awkwardly. I found this leather belt when I was thrifting last Saturday; I always seek out leather belts in consignment and thrift stores, because they tend to be a steal. This number was no exception; I love the mahogany, almost cordovan coloring of the leather and the understated brass buckle, all for only 4$.

This is one of my favorite vintage necklaces, which surprisingly has not found its way into my outfits very much lately. I found it at a fabulous antique store, in a 1950s architecture style building, up in Ithaca while in university; I wore it frequently to class. I love the hardware of the chain, its thickness, and the variety in shape and texture of the leaf charms. The metal is golden brass in color and sheen, and complements the belt buckle well.

Here are two of my favorite bangles, intense jewelry staples of mine: a thick black plastic bangle, with a faux-Bakelite feel, and a brass elephant bangle, made over in India, scooped up from a different vintage jewelry shop up in Ithaca.

To complete the look and add some excitement to the black pieces, and again to add the necessary height to my legs for my pants, I wore these leopard wedges. The heel is a littl more than two inches, maybe three, but with the wedge these shoes offer plenty of support and are definitely comfortable for extended periods of time, sitting or standing. Although leopard can be a bit wild for the office, the rounded toe and the pairing with the long, simple pant leg tame these shoes.

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